Friday, 19 March 2010
The Challenge Tour starts its end-of-season run-in this week with the San Paolo Vita Open at Margara in Italy with several of the top 15 places on the rankings still to be claimed.

The San Paolo Vita Open is the first of just three remaining tournaments on this year's schedule, followed by the Le Touquet Challenge de France and the Grand Final in Cuba at the start of November.

Three weeks ago when the Challenge Tour completed its 21st tournament with the Gula Sidorna Grand Prix at Ljunghusens near Malmo, Sweden's Henrik Stenson moved to the top of the Order of Merit with his second victory of the year.

Stenson, who also won in Luxembourg, leapt above Ireland's David Higgins into the No.1 spot and gave notice that he intends staying there to the bitter end.

Both players are guaranteed their Tour cards for next year but Higgins won't be giving up without a fight. With three wins under his belt, he also is targeting the leading position so it should be a keen head-to-head struggle starting in Italy this week.

Those players in the top ten positions also look to have secured their cards for 2001 but those in 11th to 15th place must fight hard to stay there especially with several challengers just outside the top 15 showing good form.

England's Kenneth Ferrie, currently 18th and just 3,000 euro away from 15th place, is looking ominous after winning his first title in Tessali and finishing joint second in Sweden. Before his Tessali success he was 105th on the Rankings.

The San Paolo Vita Open is one of the Challenge Tour's oldest titles. It dates back to 1989 when Italy's Alberto Binaghi was victorious and he repeated that success a year ago and will defend his crown this week.

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Tournament Leaderboard

PosPlayer NameNatHolePar
1EDLUND, DennisSWE18-15
2SANTI, MarcelloITA18-14
T3RAITT, AndrewENG18-13
T3STENSON, HenrikSWE18-13
T6SIMSEK, ErolGER18-12
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